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navy pier through the years 8

May. 15, 2020

Navy Pier Through the Years

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate. Please visit our event calendar for information on current events.

Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, has gone through an exciting evolution over the last 100+ years! Let’s revisit the amazing developments the Pier has experienced, starting with its 1916 opening as part of Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago. Then and now, Navy Pier has been a Chicago icon and popular destination throughout its history.

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Opened to the public in 1916, originally named “Municipal Pier”. The build was overseen by architect Charles Sumner Frost and based on Daniel Burnham’s “Master Plan of Chicago.” The purpose of the Pier was to be a shipping and recreation facility.

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The Pier experienced a name change this year! Municipal Pier was officially renamed Navy Pier in 1927 as a tribute to the Navy personnel who were housed at the Pier during World War I.

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Fifty years later, Navy Pier was designated a Chicago landmark, positioning the Pier as an unforgettable destination in the city and across the globe.

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Navy Pier underwent a redevelopment in 1994 with improvements made to nearly every aspect of the Pier!

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Nearly twenty five years ago, Navy Pier reopened in July 1995 to the public. Since then, Navy Pier has offered a diverse and eclectic experience to guests and remains one of the most unique settings in the world.

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In July 2011, Navy Pier, Inc., the newly formed not-for-profit entity entrusted with the operation and redevelopment of Navy Pier, put forth The Centennial Vision, a framework for reimagining Navy Pier. The vision’s purpose was to expand the Pier’s audience and enrich the experience of guests.

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The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion.

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In 2019, the Pier ushered in its second century. There were ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts, including a 220-room Hilton hotel & Offshore Rooftop & Bar. The Pier offers free, year-round arts & cultural programming designed to inspire, educate & connect communities.

We can’t wait to see what the next 100 years holds for navy pier!


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